Vestechpro opens the doors of his laboratory, and introduces his technical team, to familiarize you with the world of applied research in business and innovation in the clothing industry in Quebec.
For this third article, we met Viktoria Valkova-Kaleva, Technical Project Manager and Patronist.
Patronist: a perfect balance of aesthetics and technique
Viktoria, originally from Bulgaria, has been living in Montreal for almost 20 years. After studying computer science in Bulgaria, she switched to fashion design. "When I was in school, I was always drawn to mathematics and drawing. I did my bachelor's degree in computer science, but I quickly realized that it was not enough for me. My creative side was not happy," recalls Viktoria. After finishing a complementary training in fashion design in Montreal, she now has more than 15 years of experience as a patronnist in the garment industry, both in terms of tailoring and design or even making clothes.
Her role at Vestechpro
As a technical project manager and patronist, Viktoria is responsible for all of the organization's projects related to pattern making, grading and garment making. Thanks to her mastery of several boss software as well as several 3D modeling software oriented towards patronnage and virtual fitting, she also acts as a consultant and trainer.
A first experience in the field of research
Considering herself as a curious person who likes to learn all the time, Viktoria immersed herself in research for the first time thanks to her job at Vestechpro. With several years of experience in the field, she wants to help Canadian companies to jointly identify solutions to their problems, improving the Quebec apparel industry to face the current challenges of this sector. This self-help motivation has guided her to the clothing research and innovation center. "I was impressed by the ability of Vestechpro to mobilize a team with multiple know-how. It's really amazing to be able to work with professionals who share the same values and to be part of a common project to provide an effective solution", Viktoria says.
I have an artist's heart and an engineer's head! The profession of patroness is neither positioned on the technical pole, nor on the aesthetic pole. It's a perfect balance of both
Why work in a CCTT?
In addition, it is clear to Viktoria that research and innovation centers in the field of clothing are almost the only organizations that can offer professional support adapted to companies. "Learning a trade is a complex process that lasts all of your working life. Even in the case where professional training exists, it is not enough. Indeed, professional knowledge develops mainly by being confronted with concrete work situations. Unfortunately, the garment industry is a sector in crisis. Development and production have been in Asia for several years. We lost some of the know-how and this made the job of patroness less stretching for the next generation. There is practically no more! In addition, there is a decrease in the number of vocational training courses offered in this area of clothing production. This is not an endangered craft, however. The need is always there! ".
Advice for the next generation: the importance of marketing!
Through the years, there is one element that Viktoria has noticed that is crucial in the face of strong competition from the industry. It is essential to establish a marketing strategy. Thus, it recommends that future succession entrepreneurs should not forget this management activity whose objective is to attract the client to the product offered by the parent company. No matter the innovation and the technicality of a product, a good marketing will make it possible to better make the purchase of this one.
Viktoria's favorite tools: the technical machines!
Viktoria does not only have one favorite tool. She particularly likes all the brilliant inventions that accompany her and that make her daily life easier. To name a few, she likes Japanese scissors to cut fabric more easily, sharpening machines and specialized machines as well as drawing and patterning software. "I can not stop marveling!".
Discover each month the portrait of a member of our team!